Venturing beyond the ski area boundary, I skied over a low rise before gradually ascending the broad northeast slope of Twin Cairns. This slope is steep enough to be potentially dangerous, but given that the avalanche rating for the alpine zone was "moderate" on this day, I took a calculated risk and opted to ascend here. The fact that the snow pack appeared to be settled (ie. no "whumping" whatsoever) helped to alleviate some of my concerns about the slope. I eventually reached a point where the slope was too steep for me to skin efficiently, and I simply ditched my skis and continued up on foot. I figured that it was not worth the effort to drag my skis up the short distance I had left to the summit ridge where the skiing was likely to be marginal anyway. I post-holed through shin-deep powder for much of the remainder of the ascent although the summit ridge was rocky enough in places to make me not regret my decision to leave my skis behind. Visibility was unfortunately limited at the summit, and I found little reason to linger despite fairly mild weather conditions. I retraced my steps back along the summit ridge and down the northeast slope back to where I had left my skis. My ski back to the top of Wawa chair was not the most graceful, but it was quick.
Had the weather been clearer, I might have
been motivated to continue up some other nearby ridges. Instead, I
simply skied back to the village for a nice lunch with some of my skiing
cohorts. My new AT ski boots performed admirably (ie. no blisters)
although one of them felt a bit tight. A return trip to the
boot-fitter (Lou's Performance Centre) where I bought the boots
should hopefully remedy this minor issue.
* All statistics start and end at the ski area
boundary near the top of the Wawa chairlift.
Twin Cairns is visible across open
meadows beyond the ski area boundary. The summit is actually
shrouded in clouds to the far left.
This is presumably one of the Twin
Cairns. This, however, is not the summit.
The summit of Twin Cairns is barely
visible in the distance.
Sonny stands on the 2544-metre summit
of Twin Cairns.
Sonny's tracks are barely discernible
in the flat light. In the distance is Wawa Ridge.
Sonny climbs back up a rocky section
along the ridge.
Sonny heads back to the ski area.
Distance: 3.5 kilometres*
Round-Trip Time: 2 hours 51 minutes*
Net Elevation Gain: 213 metres*
* All statistics start and end at the ski area boundary near the top of the Wawa chairlift.